I know the majority would think the vet is the best bet, but I really don't want to do that to him, and even if they found something we wouldn't treat it.
You are not doing it "to him" but FOR him.
I did see you clarify the above statement in subsequent posts. That is why I tried to explain why I did sound so harsh.
I am sorry you are so stressed. I see your dog is causing you more stress. I am trying to point out the Vet is best and treatment for what is "likely" the issue is fairly easy. I also went on to try to "help". I looked for my notes from my last pain management seminar but, I seem to have misplaced them (again!). I was going to see if it had the actual glu/chon dose in them as well as the omega fatty acid balance that helps. (I am pretty sure it just had drugs but, I wanted to check for YOU!)
He sounds a lot like my Akita did 5yrs ago before treatments. She would fall then get her legs back under her and hop off. I couldn't call it running since she kind of bunny hopped in the back end more than ran with a proper gait.
At this point, if he was mine, I wouldn't do x-rays for any orthopedic issues either. With his issues at the vet it would stress him for no reason. X-ray findings will not change the treatment if the vet thinks it is arthritis so, IMO they would also be a waste of money. I X-rayed my dogs but, that was out of curiosity more than anything. Even then I didn't do "diagnostic" X-rays except when she broke a tooth and needed anesthetic to remove it.
I don't know about bloods work. I do annual blood on anybody over 6 with heartworm testing each year anyway. With my one girl who had stopped eating I did bloods (found all normal but high calcium). Then I did x-rays to see if we could find a tumor that could possibly be removed. (couldn't see anything, discussed exploratory and declined it). If my vet said I should do bloods because clinical signs pointed to something other than arthritis I would do them, probably.
Often in dogs tumor removal is the first step. I would never do chemo or anything like that on one of mine either! I would do a tumor removal if it looked like that would do it. But, even that is more than a lot of people will do. I have only seen one person do chemo with a dog. It was harder on the owner than the dog actually. It was for Lymphoma. They spend thousands and got only 4 extra months with their dog. Chemo does not affect dogs the way it does people. I have seen that. But I would not do it because of the stress on me and the cost.
And by the way Jill....it is not that I don't "like" you or anything. I just care more about animals than humans in general LOL. I would rather hurt somebody's feelings than see a dog hurting. I also know you didn't think he is in pain. You may still not believe it, I am 110% certain he is. I hear it way to often "he can't be in pain because he doesn't cry and he acts like a puppy sometimes" and when I look at the dog all I see is pain.
I hope your vet can see him soon and he does OK for his trip there. I also can't wait to hear what the vet suggests and how your dog does!